About the area
McCarthy is located in the very center of Wrangell St. Elias National Park. Our “Sister City” of Kennicott is just 4.5 miles away. You can not possibly visit the area without spending time in both Kennicott & McCarthy. The towns are rich in history and surrounded by the largest protected wilderness on earth.
4 major mountain ranges share this park, and 3 of them converge on the tiny town of McCarthy.
Once the railroad arrived, McCarthy became a primary freight and passenger drop.
The Mill building, at 14 levels, is still the tallest wooden structure in America.
The copper in the area of Kennecott was among the richest deposits ever found.
At one time in history, McCarthy was the largest city in Alaska.
mccarthy was a party town
McCarthy is built on a patented homestead. No doubt the chosen location may have anticipated where the railroad would have to cross the Kennicott Glacier face. It is unclear just how much real homesteading went on (though John Barrett could grow some good crops) for soon, the railroad came to town and McCarthy became a primary freight and passenger drop.
Kennecott Mine and the railroad
The engineering effort at the turn of the century to build the mines and railroad was truly awesome. The structures that still stand at the mill site and mines represent a time of wide open exploration and exploitation in Alaska’s rough and wild early days. The Mill building, at 14 levels, is still the tallest wooden structure in America.
the town today
McCarthy and Kennicott are two of the most well preserved ghost towns in America. Kennicott was the quintessential “Company Town” & McCarthy was a fully realized “Sin City”. These towns were inseparably tied together back in the beginning, and they are still inseparable today.
So this place gets 5 out of 5 because it has that extra something. Really unique, have never seen anything like it.
- Katrin R